Tuesday, 5 May 2009
An Oxford Tradition: ROWING
My friend Kelly came to visit me my first weekend back at Oxford and I was telling her that I really wanted to have a proper go at rowing. So I got in contact with a few colleges here at Oxford and Lincoln college was the first to respond to my e-mail. So come Tuesday morning at 6:30 am I headed out to the Isis river to climb into the first boat (the best rowers) of Lincoln College. The sun had just risen and a gorgeous mist blanketed the river. The cows were still napping in the lush green grasses of Christ Church Meadows and the swans were swimming gracefully in the Cherwall. A few brave scullers were already out on the water- perhaps trying to complete their morning ritual before hoards of Oxford students broke the calm waters. As I showed up in my newly bought leggings, hot pink socks, and sparkle baseball cap I heard a chuckle from our coach as she gave me a brief course in Rowing 101. She prepared me for what she called "a baptism by fire." My first "outing" on the river as they call it, was definitely a trial, but ultimately an athletically rewarding experience. Most shocking was the strange athletic mentality of "crew." Rowing is unlike any other sport that I have ever participated in. In rowing, you are only a power house- a giant muscle. You don't think, you don't make decisions. The cox tells you everything that you should do and your only goal is to synchronize perfectly with the other 7 engines of the boat. There is something calming about rowing- almost like yoga where you attempt to clear your mind and just focus on the strength of your muscles and the stamina of your body. I survived another outing last Saturday and I intend to keep training for our first competition known as Summer Eights. It is held the last week in May and it is a "bump" race where you attempt to catch up with the boat in front of you and physically hit the boat with your oars- thus 'bumping' them and moving up in the ranks. There are 4 days of racing in total and the goal is to climb your way via bumping to the front of the river. Wish me luck!